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NREL Implements User-Guided Upgrades to "Mine-to-Materials" Modeling Tool

April 30, 2020

Sometimes, you do not know until you try.

And thanks to our users' feedback, we were able to translate their firsthand experiences using the Materials Flows through Industry (MFI) modeling tool into an improved 2.0 version.

This innovative, customizable modeling tool is a mine-to-materials, linear network model of the U.S. industrial sector—and now, it is upgraded to better meet your modeling needs.

MFI enables users to model a diverse range of manufacturing scenarios to critically evaluate supply chains, including how changes in production technology can impact carbon emissions and industrial energy efficiency. MFI can also enable users to pinpoint supply chain energy and carbon hotspots.

Try out the new MFI today.

MFI 2.0

MFI empowers users by enabling a targeted approach to inform the building of more efficient, sustainable manufacturing supply chains and industries.

The modeling tool can run a supply chain analysis for a wide range of manufactured products, including plastics, chemicals, and metals, identifying and analyzing opportunities to reduce the energy and carbon intensities of the U.S. manufacturing sector.

Developed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and funded by U.S. Department of Energy Advanced Manufacturing Office, MFI helps manufacturers understand the benefits and consequences of next-generation technology deployment.

Calculating every necessary step of production, MFI builds out a full supply chain featuring hundreds of material inputs and energy flows.

And MFI is now better than ever.

Based on user recommendations, NREL recently upgraded the MFI tool for improved ease of use and enhanced accuracy in modeling the U.S. industrial sector supply chain.

"Improving MFI is an ongoing process, and users are a key part of that. We're always looking for new MFI users and their input on how to make this powerful tool more useful," said NREL researcher and lead MFI developer Scott Nicholson.

Your MFI Video Tour Guide

The enriched MFI tool now gives you the ability to analyze your customizable supply chain model and calculate the necessary steps in production that will help determine opportunities for improved efficiency and sustainability.

And tech support is within reach should you need it.

NREL recently released four new video tutorials to help you better understand how to use the tool and interpret the results.

These easy-to-follow lessons cover the modeling process from start to finish, including:

Text version

Ready, Set, Build!

MFI is a pretty powerful tool—and it is also free.

To access MFI and provide further feedback, simply request an account, watch the support videos, and you will be building and analyzing your own customized MFI supply chain model in no time.

"We invite users from the manufacturing industry, research laboratories, and the general public to use the tool, benefit from its results, and help us keep making it better," said Nicholson.

For more information, contact Scott Nicholson at scott.nicholson@nrel.gov and read Evaluating opportunities to improve material and energy impacts in commodity supply chains.